I titled this blog “Following My Winding Path” because my life feels like an unexpected journey. If someone told me five years ago that I would become a missionary for the UMC, I would have laughed and said “you’re kidding, right?!” because in popular imagination, a missionary is extremely pious, without any fashion sense, and believes that he/she needs to spreads the message of Jesus to save humanity from the bowels of hell. I am none of these things. However, I am a missionary that believes in sharing the Gospel to encourage all of us to create God’s kingdom on earth.
Throughout middle and high school, I wanted to become a foreign service officer “when I grew up.” I wanted to be important and have an important career. I had no idea what a foreign service officer actually did, but I knew that I wanted to do it. My dream of working for the State Department began to crumble my sophomore year at Smith, only nothing concrete replaced it. When adults asked me about my dream career, I replied that I wanted to travel and work for positive change in the world.
In May of 2011, I graduated from Smith without any idea of what to do next. I had applied for dozens of jobs in a variety of fields in hopes of finding something to do. I decided to move to Philadelphia because three close friends moved there to become teachers. For the next six months, I worked for a temp agency and a catering company. I started working as a contractor at Deloitte through the temp agency in November. I managed to pay all my bills without asking for help from my parents. I joined a gym, cooked dinner, went out on weekends, and generally became an “adult.” However, I lost touch with my passions. Every night, I prayed for God to give me a job or guidance or something to get me on the correct path.
On Christmas Eve, God answered my prayers. I ran into an old friend from youth group who was completing her service as a mission intern. She asked me what I was doing since I graduated. I replied that I had moved to Philadelphia and was working but did not have a “life plan.” She suggested that I look into the Mission Intern program and to email her if I had any questions. I found the application online, emailed her a ton of questions, and applied a few weeks later. I remained uncertain about the program until the interview days when I realized that this program is my next step.